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Councillors clash over proposed Ice Rink for Castlebar


FAVOURED LOCATIONThe Mall in Castlebar is favoured to be the location for a Christmas ice rink in the county town.

Ger Flanagan

THE location for a proposed ice rink in the town of Castlebar for the upcoming Christmas period drew some heated debate at last week’s monthly meeting of the Castlebar Municipal District of Mayo County Council.
An agreement in principle was reached by the councillors, through a vote, that the ice rink would be located at The Mall, but it was met with some stern opposition from those not in favour.
Newly appointed Cathaoirleach of Castlebar Municipal District, Martin McLoughlin, told the meeting that a recent presentation from Castlebar Chamber of Commerce revealed the project would cost approximately €20,000 but claimed that it would bring 30,000 people to the town over the Christmas period.
After ‘highly recommending’ the ice rink, Cllr McLoughlin said that the idea had the backing of the local Tidy Towns, Mayo GAA, Castlebar Tennis Club, Castlebar Chamber of Commerce and other organisations, and that the ‘general feeling’ in Castlebar is that the town doesn’t get enough from the Christmas lighting’.
However, Cllr Michael Kilcoyne firmly stated  that under ‘no circumstances’ does he support having the ice rink in The Mall, citing reasons that it will be ‘dug-up’.
Independent Cllr Kilcoyne added further that he was ‘not in favour of giving funding to the Chamber of Commerce’ and claimed that their only employee ‘hasn’t been paid for sometime’.

Traffic concerns
Cllr Frank Durcan expressed his concerns that the town would be unable to handle the increased flow of traffic that the ice rink would bring into the town, although admitting that it was a ‘great idea’. Fine Gael Cllr Henry Kenny said it was an ‘outstanding’ idea and called on his fellow councillors to be ‘fearless and go for it’. He claimed that the damage done to The Mall could be minimal and exampled the method of covering Croke Park for music concerts as a viable preventative.
The Castlebar Military Barracks was suggested as a possible alternative location by Cllr Blackie Gavin (FF), as well as being considered by the councillors as a possible solution for the influx of cars looking for parking.
After some heated exchanges between the councillors, a vote was carried out after Cllr Cyril Burke (FG) proposed the idea (seconded by Cllr Thérese Ruane) and an agreement was reached in favour of having the ice rink in The Mall by four votes to three.
Cllrs Martin McLoughlin (FF), Cyril Burke (FG), Thérese Ruane (SF) and Henry Kenny (FG) voted for, while Michael Kilcoyne (Ind), Blackie Gavin (FF) and Frank Durcan (Ind) voted against the idea. It was agreed to put it on the agenda again for the September meeting of the authority.

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